Tips to Getting That "Clean" Look

A stock vehicle tends to have a lot of badges or emblems and even stickers on it these days. These may be model identification lettering, special package notations, or even dealership names. In addition to these you may add aftermarket accessories like chrome door handle covers or mirror covers using similar methods, usually double sided 3M tape. At some point you might come to find that all the badges and stickers make your vehicle very difficult to wash, or that it just looks tacky. While these items stay attached very firmly to your vehicle, it is surprisingly not all that difficult to remove them yourself at home if you use the right techniques and use a lot of patience and care.

SierraBeforeCredit: Chris VoorbergAfterDebadgeCredit: Chris Voorberg

On the left with badges, on the right after debadging.

The Fishing Line Technique

If you have flat badges such as letters or moldings attached with 3m tape, an easy way to remove the badges is by taking a piece of fine fishing line between your hands like dental floss and carefully sawing back and forth behind the emblem until it is free. This will leave a significant amount of tape residue on the vehicle, which can then be peeled off by hand. Whatever won't come off easily by hand should be removed carefully with a plastic razor blade and 3M tape remover which can be purchased at many auto or hardware stores. It is very important to use the utmost care so as not to damage the finish of the vehicle.

Heat Technique

This method works best on the Z71 or 4x4 style stickers on pickup trucks, but may also help to peel off handle covers that are difficult to get behind with fishing line. By gently heating with a hair dryer or heat gun, stickers should peel off smoothly. Again, take your time and be careful not to apply too much heat to the area so as to damage remaining finishes and parts.

Pinstripe Eraser Wheels

If you have an unwanted pinstripe, you can purchase a removal wheel from some auto suppliers that can be fitted to a power drill. You then pull the drill trigger and apply light pressure allowing the wheel to buff off the pinstripe. This may also work to quickly remove 3M tape residue.

Clean, Wax and Buff

To finish the procedure it is best to clean the surface and then wax and buff it to blend with the rest of the vehicle's finish. Your vehicle will now look much less cluttered and be easier to clean!